Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who watches the Watchmen? Me.

Watchmen Movie PosterOkay. So I just saw Watchmen again, and I feel I can now step back and be critical of it... nah, it’s still full of win and awesome. I’m going to try to comment without giving stuff away, for those who haven’t read it or don’t want spoilers.

Casting: excellent. Mostly. The Comedian was perfect, Nite Owl I and II were perfect (Stephen McHattie, yay!), Doctor Manhattan was perfect. And Rorschach? Undeniable perfection. I maintain that the reason Watchmen wasn’t brought to the screen sooner wasn’t because they wanted the script to be just right, and it wasn’t because the CGI needed to catch up – it was because Jackie Earle Haley wasn’t quite haggard and creepy enough yet.

RorschachKovacsJEH in Bad News BearsBecause clearly he was born for this role. I can picture no one else in it. If it wasn’t such a disturbing thought I’d have a crush on him now. Maybe I do anyway. Which worries me. My favourite scenes were the prison scenes, and they were all about him. His final scene was gutwrenching, at least for me.

Visual effects: excellent. I wondered how they were going to possibly bring this to the screen, but as mentioned previously the CGI technology has really caught up. The crystal ‘ship’ on Mars was beautiful, the ‘bullet-time’ish montage over the opening credits was great, and Doctor Manhattan looked amazing – with one exception, which I will mention in a moment.

Loyalty to the original graphic novel: excellent. I love that it was directly transferred without huge changes, but there were changes that were necessary and I felt like it worked just fine with them. Leaving it in 1985 rather than bringing it to the present was great. And there was one rather major change that wasn’t so much a plot change as a focus alteration. And to be honest, it was one point I even mentioned to a friend six months or so ago – ‘it’ll all work except for this, if they do this it’ll be cheesy and dumb on screen, they’ll have to rework that’. And they did. Yay!

There had been the suggestion that maybe a short TV series would have been the way to go instead, and that way everything could be included. I’d see it for sure, but I think it would have been too easy to accidentally miss an episode and then become lost. That doesn’t mean I don’t want a series, I’d like that!

Mixed review: the soundtrack. Some were inspired – Bob Dylan over the opening credits worked fantastically – while some just irritated me – Nena, say no more.

Okay, I’ll nitpick about a few things.

One: the sex scenes. Well, really only one of them. You’ll know it when you get to it - it’s the one that goes on for WAY too long. Although the Boy enjoyed it - lots of naked girl to look at.

Bubastis & OzymandiasTwo: Bubastis. I mean she looked good, that’s true. But they had to leave certain things from the original graphic novel out, and the explanation of Bubastis was one of them. Which made her sudden appearance towards the end of the movie jarring. She was still needed for her final purpose – but then again, maybe they could have made that scene without her altogether? I dunno. She does ground Ozymandias somewhat, shows that he does have some feelings, but that could have been done a different way.

Three: Ozymandias. I think of all the characters, his was the only one miscast. Maybe not miscast, I mean, I don’t know who I’d prefer to take that role, but Matthew Goode wasn’t it. He seemed to not be able to decide what his accent was, which was distracting. And maybe it wasn’t the actor so much as the script or the direction, but I thought his ultimate role was too obvious, whereas in the graphic novel you don’t begin to see it until things are about to go down.

Not really nitpickey, but just a warning: there’s a lot of CGI penis. I don’t feel I’ll be letting anything out of the bag by saying that, I mean Dr Manhattan’s a naked blue guy for much of the novel. But the first time I saw it, I was a somewhat distracted (he’s more, um, endowed in the film than on paper). Not as distracting the second time though. Still, could have done with a little less CGI penis overall.

Lastly, I feel it would be hard to understand the plot of the film if you weren’t already familiar with the story. But don’t let that stop you...

I’ll be buying this on DVD as soon as it comes out. Just fyi.

1 comment:

  1. I agree about Ozymandias being miscast-- the part has Jude Law written all over it. The whole point of Adrian is that you *don't* suspect he's the mastermind because he's so charming and decent. They blew that completely.

    I suspect Bubastis will be better explained in the extended cuts on DVD.

    The sex scene was about as long (oo er) as it was in the graphic novel. But in the graphic novel they use "You're My Thrill" by Billie Holiday as the soundtrack, not "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen-- and as deviations from the graphic novel go, I think this says a lot about Zack Snyder. Synder wanted to go big with this scene and "You're My Thrill" is too contained, too playful, too sweet. But the scene might have been a lot better had he stuck with keeping it quieter and more intimate.